Showers over Windermere from Holbeck Lane near Troutbeck.

MLK / BLM – Dream On

June 5, 2020

Robin Dyke updated his MLK poem in light of recent developments.  Here is its first public airing.

Dream On

Dead men make such convenient heroes

— Carl Wendell Hives

Did you ever have a dream?

I’m talking about King’s Dream

of a dream, exalted, revolutionary

To white liberals it was electric.

To the deep south shocking; King

an upstart preacher, do-gooder 

troublemaker, galvanizing

the back of the bus

Hounded, spat on, punched, he took

to walking, to marching, to assembly

to politics of non-violence, to Washington:

I have a dream (Yes) that one day

(Yes) this nation will rise up

and live out the true meaning

of its creed


How long? Not Long! his pacing riff —

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 

a step. Selma to Montgomery

The Voting Rights Act of 1965

another step

How long can I keep this up?

The wearing climbs back and forth

to the mountain top, like Moses 

always attracting a more fearsome

thunder — then, an assassin’s bullet

April 4, 1968, Memphis, 2nd floor

balcony of a dingy motel, King

the movement, tumbled headlong 

from rightful promised liberty

The reaction swift, uprising riots

swept the country, met with momentary

offering, a Fair Housing Act of 1968

diversion of the march back into

wilderness. Who to step in, take

on the philistines, pick up the pace

of King’s Poor Peoples’ Campaign?

A divide in a trail, paved over 

in no-cost white statutory gesture;

Martin Luther King, a detoured day

of celebration

Driven into repression, rerouted

to a policeman’s fatal knee on 

the throat of George Floyd in stark

daylight on a street in downtown

Minneapolis — can you believe 

Minneapolis? (Yes) — 50 plus years

of black simmering, wandering despair

explodes into demonstration, protest

rioting for breath, for an end 

to institutionalized racism, police

brutality, for access to healthcare,

education, fair employment, 

dignity (Uh-huh)

Will we in white ever learn? Act?

Our answer to a dream on hold no

longer tolerant to be left blow’n

in the wind (Oh-no)

King’s dream dawns restless amidst

cathartic carnage, gasping 


What is your dream?

Will you give it breath?

It’s far past time


Who’s the troublemaker




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